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Librarians Unite Against Patriot Act Provisions

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Steven J. DuBord
New American
Friday, Dec 4th, 2009

Librarians are virtually united in opposing the renewal of the Patriot Act provisions that are set to expire this December 31, 2009. Thirty-two state chapters of the American Library Association (ALA) have passed resolutions calling for Congress to allow Section 215 of the act to expire.

Section 215 allows the federal government to obtain a court order to compel any business, organization, group, or library to release all its records regarding any client of interest to law enforcement officials — and it places a gag order on the recipient to prevent them from speaking about it.

Lynne Bradley, director of the ALA’s Office of Government Relations, is one of those who believe that this provision violates the right to privacy. “It’s often called the library provision because the ALA made such a stink about this when no one else would,” Bradley said.

The ALA passed its first resolution against Section 215 during the group’s national meeting in July. In September, Vermont became the first state chapter to pass a resolution, adding their opposition to another provision, Section 505, which permits the FBI to issue National Security Letters. These letters can be used to accomplish the same result as court orders do for Section 215, the release of any information the FBI desires while preventing the receiver of the letter from talking about it.

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This article was posted: Friday, December 4, 2009 at 11:03 am





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